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  • Feminist and Cultural Criticism
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     When looking at this except from a feminist perspective, the focus goes on the roles men and women play in the scene. According to Siegel, feminist theory requires both men and women "to consider how much of what society has often deemed inherently female traits, are culturally and socially constructed." When considering this, a reader can put the spotlight on Mr. Mason and Aunt Cora, and how each of them handle the situation at hand. Mr. Mason steps up to the role of the logical and powerful man by leading the family to the carriage throughout the chaos and even commanding God to protect the family; his power being made official when "mysterious God heard Mr. Mason at once and answered him. The yells stopped." Aunt Cora on the other hand, being of the supposed fairer sex, was more emotionally driven, telling Antoinette simply "'Don't look,'" and holding her. In this scene, both Mr. Mason and Aunt Cora do their best to protect those that they are with, Mason doing it in the typical masculine way, and Cora doing it in the typical feminine way. While this is a reflection on gender roles in the 19th century, these behaviors are still held as the standard for how men and women should act today, making it a commentary not only on how it was, but how it is today as well. 

     When applying cultural criticism to the same passage, the focus shifts to the scene of the parrot, Coco, burning. Cultural criticism is defined by Charters as a criticism that "participates in interdisciplinary approaches, combining more than one field of academic study [...]". When observing this scene it's easy to notice the various religious and superstitious works at play. The fact that Mr. Mason calls upon his God for help, the god of a religion that is the norm in the society he's known, and he is answered with an omen that means something to the natives of the Creoles. The flaming parrot, screaming as it falls to its death, is a very unlucky thing for the mob, and thus they cease to yell and allow the family to escape for fear of the consequences of what they've done. This clash of religion and local superstition leaves one to question which force was actually at work here, which culture prevails, and leaves one to think about these factors throughout the rest of the novel.   


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